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RESTAURANTS: DINNER DATE: It was lovely to get squiffy with Sir Anthony.

TOM Baker, 69, is best known for playing the Doctor in Doctor Who, which celebrates its 40thanniversary this month.

Despite starting out as a trainee monk,he has had a long and successful acting career,including roles on stage with the National Theatre,TV work and a Golden Globe-nominated performance as Rasputin in the movie Nicholas and Alexandra.

He recently filmed a new series of Fort Boyard, which is currently being shown on digital channel Challenge TV. He lives in Sussex and is currently helping third wife Sue renovate a house in France.

You'rehosting an imaginary dinner party and can invite anyone in the world,living or dead, to your house for one night only ... who would be on your invitation list - and why?

``I'dlike to go back in time and invite Anthony Hopkins and his then wife Jennie,because he and I were great friends when we worked together at the National Theatre in the 1960s. They only divorced in the last couple of years and he's now remarried. They were very kind to me.

``He was very strange and had a marvellous imagination which made him compelling.It's a quality stars have. I haven't seen him since 1972. Maybe he's changed a bit.''

What food would you serve? ``Hopkins used to like Italian food, soI would make sure he had a wonderful spaghetti carbonara, with a fantastic,big booming 13 and a half per cent red wine, with little sips of water in between. We both loved that.

``None of this 12 per cent stuff.It's amazing the difference in impact between 12 and 13 and a half per cent. It sounds so little. It was lovely to get squiffy with Hopkins.''

Which music would you play?

``As I'venow got a piano, Hopkins could play that. He's a very nicepianist. He'dplay something terribly melancholy. The thing is, whenyou'redrinking heavily with loving friends, is that even if you play jolly music it becomes melancholy.''

Who would you have as the lackey in the kitchen?

``That's a very hard question because you might think of somebody you didn't like,as a way of paying them back. But when you're with people you love, you don't want a lackey there to overhear or witness it. So I would be the lackey.''

Which after-dinner joke would you tell?

``Two Yiddisher chaps are having chopped liver in a New York restaurant. The waiter is Chinese and speaks wonderful Yiddish.

``These two chaps are very impressed and,as they leave, they say to theowner,`cheers Rosenberg, that was great chopped liver'.

``He says: `Good,I hope you'llcome again.'And they say,`we will, we will, and the Chinese guy -he speaks great Yiddish.'`Shh, not so loud,' says Rosenberg,`he thinks he's speaking English!'Hopkins would laugh at that.''How would this unlikely event compare to the way you normally entertain friends?

``It would actually be an approximation. My wife, when we do have guests for dinner, is a very good entertainer and cook.I'm an excellent second man preparing things,and I do like serving people.

``But in the dream one, that's a fantasy in which it would be just like when we were young again.''


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 21, 2003
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